Christian Broadcasting Network politics reporter David Brody takes nearly any chance he can get to defend a Republican politician, and now he is offering his services to “explain” Donald Trump’s support among conservative evangelical voters.
You see, evangelical voters love how “Trump operates in a world of absolutes,” which Brody says is similar to how evangelicals operate, and will even excuse his claim that he never seeks forgiveness from God since his “honesty resonates with them.”
Of course, Trump’s “bold,” “absolutist” image is nothing but a myth.
As Christopher Massie and Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed helpfully note in “A Guide To The Radical Left Wing Ideology And Flip-Flops Of Fake Conservative Donald J. Trump,” Trump has previously endorsed universal healthcare, the 2009 economic stimulus, abortion rights and stricter gun laws. While similar “sins” made Mitt Romney an unacceptable candidate to many on the far-right, at least until he won the GOP nomination, it seems that Trump gets a pass because of his new image as an outspoken shouter of the unvarnished truth.
The only thing that Brody gets right about Trump is that he has a “hefty ego,” but that is also the only aspect of his character that Brody wishes Trump will change.
Donald Trump operates in a world of absolutes. A world of right and wrong; a world of winners (him) and losers (McCain, Perry, etc); a world of put up or shut up (literally). Trump’s world is colored in black and white. Their ain’t much grey. And what does Trump get for speaking out so boldly without holding back? Public ridicule.
Now, think of conservative evangelicals. In their quest to champion biblical values, their mindset is much the same. It is a world of absolutes. They believe the Bible to be the inerrant word of God. Non-negotiable. They believe there is only one way to heaven and that is through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Non-negotiable. They see the world through the lens of spiritual warfare (good vs. evil). And what do evangelicals get for speaking out so boldly without holding back? That’s right: public ridicule.
You see folks; Donald Trump and evangelicals are breaking bread together because there is this common bond that I just laid out above. They like his boldness. They relate to him because when they’ve been bold about their faith they get blasted too. It’s a kinship in a strange sort of way. Don’t ask me to go deeper than that folks. If you want that portion, go call Dr. Phil.
Here’s the point with evangelicals: they’d rather someone be honest about their views about God. The honesty resonates with them and you know what evangelicals will probably end up doing? Instead of hating Trump, they’ll put him on a church “prayer chain” and get on their knees themselves and pray that Donald Trump draws closer to God through this process. Liberals don’t snicker. It’s true.
One final point: when I talk to evangelicals about Donald Trump, as much as they like a lot of things he says, they don’t appreciate his name-calling and hefty ego. What they tell me is that if he can control those two aspects of his delivery and persona without losing who he is as a person, then that would help them get to an even more comfortable place.
Many Religious Right leaders have thrown their support behind anti-gay laws around the world that not only criminalize gay sex but also limit free speech by making even the advocacy of LGBT equality illegal. Another tactic is to limit the free speech of equality advocates by restricting public criticism of their opponents.
In Croatia, a county court has upheld a ruling of the Zagreb Municipal Court that Zagreb Pride, an LGBT rights group, had violated the personal honor and dignity of a journalist by placing her on its annual list of candidates for “homophobe of the year” in 2013. The Court ruled that Zagreb Pride must pay more than 41,000 krona (a bit over $6,000) in fines and court fees. Zagreb Pride officials contend this case is an outgrowth of an organized campaign by conservative Catholic groups and their allies that led to a 2013 referendum banning marriage by same-sex couples.
The journalist, Karolina Vidović-Krišto, had been placed on the list after producing a television segment in December 2012 which used the research of American anti-gay activist Judith Reisman, who is affiliated with Liberty University, to criticize sex-education curricula. When Vidović-Krišto was suspended by state television after the show, Reisman rallied to her defense, and the journalist was reportedly among those who helped organize Reisman’s 2013 trip to Croatia. Reisman also visited in 2014.
As reported by the Croatia-based Center for Education, Counseling and Research (CESI), Reisman was brought to Croatia for a series of public appearances by Stjepo Bartulica, a member of the Catholic order Opus Dei and a Commissioner for Religious Communities in the Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia.
Reisman’s record of anti-gay commentary is long and well-documented. For example, Reisman has:
- said that sex ed turns children into prostitutes and “little sexual deviants”;
- said that sex education classes are designed to brainwash children into thinking they might be gay, transgender or “all kinds of other things” and “these kids become fodder for adult predators, that’s exactly what they become”;
- appeared in an anti-gay “documentary” called “Light Wins,” in which she argues that parents should sue teachers and school administrators who allow students to read gay novels, which she says violates a federal law that makes it illegal to “groom children for sex”;
- said Gay-Straight Alliance clubs and anti-bullying campaigns are modeled on Hitler Youth efforts to “sever schoolchildren from their parents’ religious and sexual training”;
- called GLSEN “a modern version of the Hitler Youth” and said that “the whole point” of GLSEN’s anti-bullying efforts was to promote pedophilia;
- claimed that “the aim of homosexual males and now increasingly females is not to have sex with other old guys and get married but to obtain sex with as many boys as possible”;
- joined her Liberty colleague Mat Staver in Jamaica in December for a conference organized by those working to preserve laws criminalizing consensual gay sex;
- wrote that condoms are not meant for anal sex and called for a “class action lawsuit by AIDS victims and their loved ones” against the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Planned Parenthood and teachers and school systems that promoted condom use;
- and warned that the Boy Scouts’ vote to end the ban on participation by gay youth would lead to increased pedophilia, and agreed with right-wing radio host Rick Wiles that the Boy Scouts change was about “getting sexual predators into the Boy Scouts.”
Reisman also believes that pornography should be outlawed.
Not surprisingly, Reisman’s visit to Croatia was controversial and was criticized by some scientists as well as activists. Reisman faced a number of outspoken critics, whom she denounced as “thugs.” She spoke to parliamentarians and to college students, by whom she was not well received ; when she responded to critical questions by charging that students had been indoctrinated by communists, the school’s dean asked whether she realized how young these students were. He also challenged her credentials to speak about brain chemistry in regard to her promotion of an “erototoxin” theory that pornography leads to “mating confusion.”
Zagreb Pride officials, who say that challenging anti-gay rhetoric and actions are central to their reason for being, are calling the recent ruling an attack on free expression. The Croatian Journalists Association hosted a Zagreb Pride press conference last week.
"The Constitution guarantees us the freedom of speech, and Zagreb Pride's mission is to publicly reveal homophobia, so our basic duty is to react every time we see someone acting against homosexuals," Zagreb Pride representative Marko Jurcic told a news conference in the offices of the Croatian Journalists Association, calling on citizens to support the association and freedom of expression.
Another report from the press conference quotes Jurcic calling for solidarity from citizens in support of free speech and human rights. Also speaking were Sandra Benčić from the Center for Peace Studies and Natasa Bijelic from CESI, who put the case in the larger context of the growing neo-conservative threats to sexual and reproductive rights in Europe.
Zagreb Pride leaders have vowed to challenge the decision to the Constitutional Court as a matter of freedom of expression, and to develop a strategy for taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights.
Richard Land, the former head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s political arm, said yesterday that a conservative group’s new series of videos falsely claiming that Planned Parenthood is “selling aborted baby” parts may be the “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” of the fight against legal abortion.
“I think that this may be the equivalent of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin,’” Land said on Newsmax TV. “You know, when Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote that book, she put a human face on slavery. And Lincoln met her after the war had started and said, ‘I’m finally glad to meet the woman who wrote the book that started the war.’ I think that you may, the American people may now be forced to confront the evil and the barbarity and the savagery of the pro-abortion movement.”
Televangelist Pat Robertson tries to insist that he’s not “some sort of right-wing extremist,” which could only be convincing to someone who has never watched an episode of his daily television show, “The 700 Club.”
Take, for example, today’s program, in which a Christian Broadcasting Network reporter profiled the debate in Kenya over President Obama’s support for LGBT rights and Kenyan Bishop Mark Kariuki’s anti-LGBT efforts. In an interview with CBN, Kariuki called on Kenyan leaders to reaffirm the country’s laws making homosexuality a crime punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment, and urged Obama to reverse his support for LGBT rights before it leads to America’s destruction.
“One wishes that the president of the United States would listen to some of his fellow Africans, cousins, to what they have to say because they speak truth and they speak wisdom,” he added.
Watch highlights here:
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is up in arms about new Obama administration guidelines for exempting naturalized citizens who are conscientious objectors from the oath of citizenship’s promise to “bear arms” on behalf of the United States. The GOP presidential candidate told an Iowa radio program yesterday that the new exemption guidelines show that President Obama is “giving up on America” by allowing an “invasion” of unassimilated immigrants.
In 1950, Congress added the vow to “bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law” to the oath taken by naturalized citizens after a court ruled that military service wasn’t implicitly required in the existing oath. However, new citizens taking the oath were allowed to refuse to say the line “on the basis of religious training and beliefs,” just as all citizens are allowed to opt out of military service if they are conscientious objectors.
In 2003, a Bush administration effort to modernize the oath would have removed the “bear arms” line altogether, but was rebuffed after facing conservative criticism that the line replacing it was too weak. The new Obama administration policy keeps the “bear arms” part of the oath, but updates the guidelines on who may be exempt from saying it for religious or moral reasons.
Jindal, who has tried to position himself as the Right’s foremost defender of religious freedom, reasonably reacted to this news yesterday by circulating a petition calling for the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be fired, falsely claiming that the administration was “deleting the requirement” that naturalized immigrants vow to serve in the military, and declaring, “Immigration without assimilation is not immigration, it is invasion.”
Jindal repeated this criticism in an interview yesterday with Iowa conservative radio host Simon Conway, himself a naturalized U.S. citizen, saying, “Look, immigration without assimilation, that’s not immigration, that is an invasion.”
Jindal went on to say that by supporting this policy change, Obama has violated his own oath of office: “He takes an oath saying he’s going to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, this to me sounds like he’s giving up on America.”
The right-wing outlet WorldNetDaily is under the impression that Seattle, Washington, is now a Sharia law zone.
WND’s article, which includes the warning, “United Nations floods Seattle area with refugees,” skewers the city’s growing Muslim community and a recent proposal from a mayoral committee to aid Muslim homebuyers who believe their religion proscribes paying interest on loans.
As Adam Serwer pointed out during a similar controversy in Minnesota, many U.S. banks are already beginning to offer such plans where the “companies structure the payments in a sort of house-buying layaway plan.”
WND interviews anti-Muslim activists Andrew Bostom and Pamela Geller, who allege that such programs would lead to a broader implementation of Sharia law.
“Such dangerously misguided efforts kowtow to, and abet, Islamic supremacism,” said Dr. Andrew Bostom, author of “Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims” and several other books about the history of Islam.
“Shariah-compliant mortgages, and all aspects of so-called Shariah-compliant finance, should be rejected because they are vehicles for the promulgation of Islamic law, an integrated religio-political system antithetical to our most fundamental Western freedoms,” Bostom said.
Mayor opening the door to Shariah
Pamela Geller, author of “Stop the Islamization of America,” also said most Americans are not aware that Shariah applies to all of life. She said the mayor of Seattle, like other mayors who kowtow to Shariah, are doing long-term damage to their cities and their country.
“Shariah is a unified whole – a guide to every aspect of human behavior. It doesn’t just involve interest and loans,” Geller said. “The teachings of Islam regarding war against and subjugation of unbelievers is part of Shariah as well. The mayor of Seattle is opening the door to Shariah, and because he has already shown himself to be compliant, he will receive more demands for accommodation of Shariah in the future.
“This is a radical, intolerant, violent, misogynistic, antisemitic ideology, and he should not be kowtowing to it.”
In the conservative Washington Examiner, Paul Bedard wrote on Tuesday, “Amen corner: Trump makes inroads with social conservatives, evangelicals.”
Donald Trump's surge into the lead of the Republican presidential primary can be credited partly to two groups he has rarely engaged: social conservatives and evangelical Christians.
"Trump is tapping into deep-seated anger in America, a nation founded by Christians 'for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith,'" said David Lane, a prominent national evangelical political organizer. "He's tapping into something at the grassroots, precinct level of America. America is starving for moral, principled leadership. I hope that Donald Trump brings that."
Seriously? David Lane, as regular RWW readers know, is an anti-gay “Christian-nation” political operative who organizes meet-and-greet events and international trips that bring conservative evangelical pastors together with Republican politicians. The oft-married, self-worshipping Trump seems an odd fit for the man who wants to make the Bible the primary textbook in public schools and thinks the purpose of the U.S. government is to advance the Christian faith.
Evangelicals have flirted with Trump before. Recall Trump’s 2012 appearance at Liberty University, where he delivered a speech that Kyle described on RWW as “a typically self-aggrandizing and buffoonish message that was superficially about the importance of God and his Christian but was really about self-promotion and the importance of always getting even with your enemies.”
An unnamed “leader in the social conservative movement” reportedly told Bedard that Trump’s bluster about restoring “order” on the Mexican border has “wowed” voters who are disgusted with Washington.
But other evangelicals were not too happy about Trump’s weekend appearance in Iowa. Trump’s comments denigrating John McCain’s war service got the most mainstream media attention, but Ed Kilgore noted in Washington Monthly that Trump’s response to questions about his faith from pollster Frank Luntz were hardly the kind that would inspire evangelicals: “Luntz asked The Donald if he had ever asked God for forgiveness, and it was really as though the idea had never occurred to him.”
“If I do something wrong, I try to do something right,” he said. “I don’t bring God into that picture.”
Spoken like an ethical agnostic, right? But perhaps sensing his answer wasn’t adequate, he tried to recover:
“When I drink my little wine — which is about the only wine I drink — and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness, and I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed,” he said.
Byron York also wrote that Trump’s McCain remarks were not the biggest problem coming out of Iowa, saying that a “senior Iowa Republican” was “dumbfounded” by Trump’s comments on religion.
“While there were audible groans in the crowd when Trump questioned whether McCain was a war hero,” the senior Republican said via email, “it was Trump’s inability to articulate any coherent relationship with God or demonstrate the role faith plays in his life that really sucked the oxygen out of the room.”
Steve Benen notes that Jeb Bush jumped to take advantage of Trump’s remarks, telling a conservative radio host that he, Bush, “regularly” asks God for forgiveness. Rick Perry is also trying to use Trump’s dismissal of the need for God’s forgiveness as a way to get some attention, saying that a man too self-absorbed to seek God’s forgiveness does not belong in the White House. It’s worth noting that Perry informally launched his failed 2012 bid with a political prayer rally organized by David Lane and his dominionist allies, making it hard to take Perry seriously when he warns against “false prophets” and messengers “who appeal to anger, division and resentment.”
Lane’s comments are also out of synch with some of his political allies. Sarah Posner pointed out this week that Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference said last week that they didn’t know a single evangelical who supports Trump, saying Christians are turned off by Trump’s immigrant-bashing. But it seems that Moore and Rodriguez need to get out among their constituents a bit more — Posner notes that a Washington Post poll showed Trump as the preferred candidate of 20 percent of white evangelicals, with 45 percent of white evangelicals saying Trump is “just about right” on the issues. A recent Public Policy Polling survey [PDF] found that Trump had higher favorability ratings among evangelical Republicans than non-evangelicals in the party.
David Lane’s positive comments about Trump, who is currently sitting at the top of the polls, are probably just another example of Religious Right leaders’ habit of publicly demanding religious and political purity, but then throwing their support to whatever politicians the GOP nominates. (James Dobson perfected this move.)
Lane has said his effort to recruit 1,000 like-minded evangelical pastors to run for office — and in the process get hundreds of thousands of conservative Christian volunteer workers to influence the 2016 elections — was inspired by his own pastor’s failed run for the state assembly. Last month that pastor, Rob McCoy, made it to public office, winning a seat on the city council of Thousand Oaks, California.
The American Family Association's Tim Wildmon appeared on the "Point of View" radio program yesterday to make the case that conservative Christians cannot give up fighting for their values because the culture war is really the manifestation of a spiritual battle between God and Satan for the soul of America.
"God made a special carve-out, if you will, in the late 1700s to create this new country called the United States of America," he explained. "It was all birthed out of biblical values or, as my dad calls it, the mind of Christ [for the purpose of spreading] the Christian Gospel all over North America and then we spread the Christian Gospel all over the world. And by 'we,' I mean American Christians."
"This is a spiritual war for America and I think Satan hates America because America has spread the Gospel around the world and we still have a majority Christian nation," Wildmon continued. "That's my view. I can't prove it but I think that's why we're so engaged and we see so much going on for our country's future."
Back in March, a task force that President Obama convened to create recommendations for local policing in wake of the Ferguson protests released its report, which included nonbinding recommendations that local law enforcement track and share various statistics and work to increase trust within their communities.
This, of course, did not sit well with Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt, who invited the Tea Party’s favorite sheriff, David Clarke of Milwaukee County, onto his radio program this weekend to discuss how the presidential task force’s report is actually part of President Obama’s plan to “emasculate” the police and impose dictatorial control.
Clarke told Pratt that the report was a “sham” that was “put together on a false narrative” as part of Obama’s “attempt to federalize all local police so he can control them the way that a dictator uses the police in a dictatorship or a police state.”
Pratt responded by citing a 2008 Obama campaign speech that conspiracy theorists have twisted to claim that the president wants to set up a “civilian police force” loyal just to him: “That’s exactly what he said when he was campaigning, that he wanted to have a police force that was superior, or at least equal to, anything else in the country. That’s pretty stunning because our Constitution doesn’t provide for the feds to be cops.”
Clarke, however, said that all of this isn’t just Obama’s fault, but instead a product of “this cultural revolution that’s going on now” driven by liberal elites.
“One of the things that they know they have to do is they have to emasculate the police,” he said. “So this is really not about the use of force. In terms of the left, Ferguson was not about the use of force, it was not about the use of force on black males in these urban centers, it wasn’t even about policing. It is an objective of seizing control, federal control of these law enforcement agencies and turn them into Gestapo-type members to advance their liberal agenda, their socialist agenda.”
“They always talk about the ends justifying the means and, you know, their intentions are masked, okay?” he added. “Their true intention is to implement this socialist agenda here in the United States, to get rid of the United States Constitution, get rid of our representative democracy and replace it with control by a few elites. And that’s not just the people who are here right now, because Barack Obama’s just being used by this whole movement because he has the power, but they put him in power.”
- Chris Bull @ Queerty: Bryan Fischer’s Gays-As-Nazis Slander Debunked By Holocaust Historian, Once And For All.
- Alexandrea Boguhn @ Media Matters: Latest Video Attacking Planned Parenthood Full Of More Deceptive Edits.
- German Lopez @ Vox: Rick Perry's epic tirade against "the cancer of Trump-ism".
- Kevin Roose @ Fusion: The next time someone says ‘all lives matter,’ show them these 5 paragraphs.
- Michael Fitzgerald @ Towleroad: Anti-Gay Wedding Venue Owners Tell Ted Cruz: ‘We Were Devastated to Hear That We Were Bigots’.
- Sophia Tesfaye @ Salon: "God’s plan": These GOP candidates claim the Almighty wants them to run.
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